Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baffled. And the three types of brands.

Just a couple days ago a Forrester Study was released that rated the "top Customer Engagement Agencies." It rated a dozen or so CEAs (their bullshit to initial ratio was in fine fettle) on a dozen or more categories. You can see two of their ratings charts here:

Maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe I got old. But I've risen to the top, or nearly so, at every agency I've ever been at: traditional, direct, events, interactive. So, I like to think I have a breadth of hands-on experience that's really second to a few, if not none.

I looked at these charts and wondered.

What the fuck are they rating?

Could someone please, I mean it, explain how the criteria selected by Forrester measures the effectiveness of anything.

Could someone please tell me--or better, show me customer engagement with any product that isn't made by Nike or Apple?

Could someone please explain how "customer metrics and measurement methodologies" sells soap?

We have turned our business over to blowhards.

Plain and simple.

I leave 2/3rds of all meetings not understanding a word of what anyone is saying.

Just yesterday I heard once again how one-million "likes" will blossom into 1.3 billion human billboards.

Oh, fuck me sideways with a rusty iron rod.

I will break this down for you once again:

There are three types of brands.

1. There are the "blands." No one will talk about them, be engaged by them or do anything with them. There may be a "Saran Wrap" page on Facebook, but it is meaningless. Blands can try to up their fucking Twitter fucking footprint, but I gotta tell you. I can't even imagine what a conversation about Airwick Solid would be like. Or a spice like Tumeric.

2. There are "brants." These are the brands people rant about. Telcos. Airlines. ISPs. Cable companies. They don't make any steps that aren't false. People hate them. These brants should stay away from social media.

3. Finally, there are "braves." The few brands people rave about. Usually they've spent billions, like Nike of Apple to make themselves useful and likeable. These braves can use social media, but don't need to because people already talk about them. Brants like "Warby Parker" don't count. Because until further notice, they don't exist outside of Williamsburg. And I would prefer a weekend in  Guantanamo to one in Hipster Heaven.

I don't really know if or how you can take a bland and make it a brave. Or a brant and make it a brave. It's way easier to destroy a brave than build one.

But I can tell you that getting to brave-hood takes years of concerted, consistent effort, money and, yes, bravery.

That's why there are so few.

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